If you renting a home, you likely had to pay a sizable deposit. To ensure you get that deposit back when you move out, you’ll need to protect your interests.  Most landlords are reputable and honest but you still need to take steps to protect your interests. Here are a few home rental tips that will help you have a positive experience.

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Read Your Lease

This seems like a no-brainer, but failure to really read and understand your tenancy agreement can cost you. The contract will include basic things like the monthly amount and due date of rent, late payment fees, length of lease, and the like. But you need to pay attention all points of the agreement. Check things like how much notice is required to move out and get a refund of your deposit. Pay close attention to the area that talks about the refund of your deposit. You’ll likely need that deposit to move to a new place. 

Always get a receipt for every rent payment and keep them with your rental agreement in a safe place. If any question comes about about whether or not you paid your rent, you’ll want that proof.

Inspect the Property at Move In

The most likely requisite for getting a full refund of your deposit is the condition of the property at the end of your lease. To be sure you aren’t on the hook for any pre-existing damage, go through the property with the owner. Take pictures of every room. Note any pre-existing damage. Create a list of anything you find, and have the landlord sign to acknowledge all damage at the time of move in.

Take Care of the Property

Through the term of your lease, be sure to keep the property in good condition. Most of the time, at the end of your lease, you shouldn’t be penalized for normal wear and tear (check your lease agreement). I would still likely use some kind of non-damaging wall hangers to put up any type of art instead of nails. Keep the bathrooms clean and mold-free. Cabinets should be wiped down and free of any dust and debris.

If there is carpet in the house, it not a bad idea to go ahead and have the it cleaned before you move out. It’s probably best to have professional carpet cleaners do the job- especially if you have pets. If any damage has occurred while you were living there, have it repaired before turning the house back to the landlord.

Make the place move-in ready for the next tenant. That way the landlord will have no argument about deposit refund.

Report Problems

If during your tenancy you experience problems with the property, notify the landlord immediately. I would call the landlord to report the problem, then follow up with an email for your records. The landlord should make every attempt to remedy any problems as quickly as possible. Keep a record of every contact you have with the landlord. You don’t want anything to come back on you at the end of your lease. 

Have an Exit Inspection

Ask the landlord for an exit inspection. Just like when you first moved in, you should go through the home with the landlord. Have your list from move-in with you. Go room at a time and let the landlord note any areas he feels are problems. Have a statement ready for your landlord to sign indicating the good condition of the property at move out. Don’t wait until you’ve moved away before you find out if the landlord is going to try to reduce or withhold your deposit. 

If you have an exit inspection with the landlord, he can indicate any problem areas. Those areas can be resolved at that time. 

Treat the Home as Your Own

Even though you are not the actual homeowner, you should still treat the home as though it’s yours. Of course you won’t be able to make permanent changes, but you can still make it beautiful. Keep the lawn mowed and maybe add some potted flowers outside. This is the home you’ll be coming home to each and every evening. You should care for it as if it’s your own. If you follow these home rental tips, your experience should be positive.


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